Facebook snaps up Tagtile customer loyalty app

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Facebook has acquired Tagtile, which supplies mobile loyalty and customer management solutions targeting the local business segment. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The free Tagtile app, available for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, enables merchants to engage customers via push notifications, customized offers and targeted information. Users collect and redeem loyalty points, coupons and related rewards by tapping their smartphone against the Tagtile Cube, a point-of-sale reader device that plugs into any power outlet. The Tagtile app also enables users to share their customer experiences via social media outlets.

In a statement posted to its website, Tagtile said it will no longer accept new customers, although it will continue to maintain the service "as is for now." Tagtile adds it will be reaching out to merchant partners directly once its future plans are in place, but said "Tagtile as it exists today won't be part of what we do at Facebook."

Facebook is slated to go public this spring and is in the process of expanding its advertising efforts to the mobile platform as it strives to create new revenue streams. Those efforts include Offers, a service enabling businesses to share discounts and promotions directly from their Facebook page. Consumers may redeem Offers via email or on a mobile device. It is unclear what role Tagtile services and software might play in the Offers platform moving forward.

Facebook plans to raise $5 billion with its initial public offering. Its IPO filing acknowledges the company's struggles to monetize its popular mobile services: "We currently do not show ads or directly generate any meaningful revenue from users accessing Facebook through our mobile products, but we believe that we may have potential future monetization opportunities such as the inclusion of sponsored stories in users' mobile News Feeds," Facebook wrote. Trading of Facebook stock on private exchanges points to a valuation around $80 billion; last year, the firm reported revenues of $3.7 billion, driven by online advertising and sales of virtual goods.

Facebook users worldwide now exceed 850 million, with more than 425 million active on mobile devices. Last week, Facebook acquired photo-sharing application Instagram for $1 billion, the largest deal in the social networking giant's eight-year history. The free Instagram app, first introduced in October 2010 for iOS, enables users to snap, filter and manipulate photos, upload their work to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and foursquare, and post likes and comments. More than 30 million registered Instagram users on iOS upload more than 5 million photos every day.

For more:
- read this Tagtile blog entry

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